The SRP distributed leaflets in and around the Boeng Kak backpacker lake area Saturday denouncing the municipality’s decision to lease the 133 hectares to a private firm for 99 years, SRP officials said.
The leaflet claims the development in Daun Penh district will damage the economy and destroy the environment. It also criticizes the length of the contract and says the decision should have been discussed with people living around the lake beforehand.
“We have already distributed 1,000 leaflets,” SRP Deputy Secretary-General Hul Thol said Monday.
On Feb 6, the municipality signed a 99-year lease with little-known company Shukaku Inc to develop the area in Srah Chak commune, which encompasses Boeng Kak lake.
“[The municipality] sold the national property for the cheapest price,” the SRP’s leaflet claims.
Government officials have declined to reveal how much the company paid for the deal, but Khmer-language newspaper Rasmei Kampuchea reported last week that Shukaku Inc paid $79 million.
SRP lawmaker Ho Vann said he plans to hold an open forum to discuss the deal and will invite municipal and district authorities to participate. The forum will enable people to “express their views as to whether or not they support the development of the lake,” he said.
Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema said he was too busy to speak to a reporter.
Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun declined to comment on the leaflet, but said he will attend the proposed forum to confront the SRP about their accusations. “It’s easy to complain, but it is difficult to work,” he said.
“We have a compensation policy in place [for people evicted from the area],” Mann Chhoeun said. “Any people who have land titles will be given apartment flats to live in Boeng Kak. Businesses can remain there.”
Mann Chhoeun said he was uncertain when people might be told to leave the area.
Shukaku Director Lao Meng Khin could not be reached for comment.
Srah Chak’s CPP commune chief Chhay Tearith said the leafleting campaign was politically motivated and inappropriate.
“The SRP is conducting an election campaign before the election campaign [officially begins],” he said, adding that he has filed a complaint about the matter with the National Election Committee.